Govt. declares Wednesday national mourning for 26 drowned victims
LUSAKA, Oct 26, 2014, ZANIS——-Government has declared Wednesday 29th October, 2014, day of national mourning in honor of 26 lives from Henga Community School in Gwembe district, Southern province who died on Friday when the rest of the country was commemorating independence.
Acting President Edgar Lungu has announced in Lusaka today according to ZNBC news monitored by ZANIS.
All flags will fly at half-mast on Wednesday from 06 hours to 18 hours on the day of national mourning and that all programmes of entertainment nature Would be suspended or cancelled while radio and television stations should play solemn music during the mourning period.
Mr. Lungu, who is also PF Secretary General, has since sent a message of condolences to the bereaved families on behalf of President Micheal Sata.
He has directed Secretary to the Cabinet Dr. Roland Msiska to organize a inter-denomination church service to be held at the cathedral of the Holy cross in honour of the departed souls and bereaved families.
He observed that the 26 people comprising pupils and teachers died while attempting to attend to a significant, lifetime and historic national event, uhuru celebrations.
At least two juveniles survived the incident a development which has shocked government and other stakeholders.
He said government has also pledged to ensure that all bodies are retrieved, recovered and buried in a dignified manner.
He further said that government would also meet all costs associated with the funeral.
The Acting Head of State has also directed Minister of Works, Transport, and Communications Yamfwa Mukanga to hasten government plans to invest in safe water transport vessels to minimize unnecessary loss of lives.
Yesterday, Vice President Dr. Guy Scott accompanied by Inspector General of Police Stella Libongani and officials from the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit visited the Henga village and consoled the bereaved families.
Dr. Scott appealed to the parents and guardians of the deceased to look up to God for guidance as death was painful.
Meanwhile, a combined team of divers from Zambia Police and Zambia Army have recovered 17 out of 26 bodies mostly pupils who drowned in Lake Kariba on Friday morning after the boat they were on capsized.
Police Acting Public Relations Officer, Esther Katongo said that the search for bodies on Lake Kariba by the divers from defense wings had continued and was progressing well.
As of yesterday morning, the total number of bodies recovered had come to 17, and that included the three bodies that were recovered on Saturday and relatives had been able to identify their beloved ones.
Updates will be given to the nation as the search progresses.
Ms. Katongo urged members of the general public to remain calm as everything was being done to have all the bodies recovered.